matrix4b: (Default)
Ok, I have racked the chocolates, Was able to find the oaking on one that I put in.  Wow that's going to be some really heavy oaking.  I think it was in a month.  I put oak in the other one.  So now they are both oaked.

Predicablly, the chocolate is tasting like antaseptic and not incredibly chocolately.  The chocolate flavor will come back as will the sweetness with aging.  It may be a little less sweet than I want but It should be good.  The color is just beautiful.  Nice Brown that has a transparent quality about it.  I may only end up with 5 gal each but it will be worth it.  I plan on hitting it up with some sparkloid next time I rack it, which will be the final racking prior to bottleing.  Hopefully I will bottle these two no later than march.  That would mean that the earliest I would want to open a bottle of this is around mile hi con in 2013, fall that is.   I really must do another chocolate with nuts and maybe some coconut.  Hell if I am going to have such a long aging then why not put coconut in two.  As I understand it both Chocolate and Coconut have many oils in them that need time to break down.  But Oh, I can't wait to try these.

Didn't bottle the Blueberry Lemon.  Plan on trying on Monday as I have this off.

Also plan on putting in the primary two of the Orange Blossum honeys.  This will be destined for strawberry batch and mango batch.

In the Spring, I hope to be able to do another Blueberry, a Blueberry Vanilla for my friend Robz who hasn't had a decent drink in years and when it's ready to drink will be able to.  I am flattered that he has requested a sweet blueberry for his choice.  I plan on using some of the buckwheat honey for this.

Also in the spring I hope to start the Bamboo Jasimin mead, with buckwheat honey and orange blossum honey, what's left, I think of what I have now.  This is for the 10 year anaversery of my Shinia club.  Which by the time that comes around it should be aged about 2 years or so.  Well and good.

In the spring I also hope to bottle the Rockbitter Trinary toast, making next year around this time or so when it will be aged.  I should also rack the Pumpkin Hazelnut soon.  It's been on the pumpkin aboutwhat 3 weeks?  Or has it only been 2.  Will need to check my own journal for that.

Summary: 
Bottle Blueberry vanilla, clean 2 carboys.
So 4 batches planed:
Strawberry: primary on monday or a week later
Mango: Primary on monday or a week later
Bamboo Jasmin Primary in Spring
Blueberry Vanilla Primary in Spring

Carboy Juggling: BB=Brew bucket, 6 is a 6 gal glass, 5 is a 5 gal glass.
Current configuration:
Brew Bucket BB1: Chocolate
Brew Bucket BB2: Chocolate Mint
Brew bucket BB3: Pumpkink Hazelnut
Glass 6A: Blueberry Lemon
Glass 5A: Trinary Rockbitter
Glass 5B: Trinary Rockbitter
Glass 5C: Trinary Rockbitter
Glass 5D: Empty and Dirty

Monday:
Glass 6A: Bottle, empty and clean.
Glass 5D: Clean.
Monday or a week or two from monday:
Glass 6A: Primary of orange blossom honey (Strawberry)
Glass 5D:Primary of orange blossom Honey (Mango)

Febuary:
BB3: Rack off of Pumpkin, and Oak and Postasium Sorbate.
Late Febuary
BB3: Backsweeten, Buckwheat honey and Sparkloid
Spring-ish:
Glass 5A: Bottle
Glass 5B: Bottle
Glass 5C: Bottle
Glass 5A: Primary of Buckwheat (Blueberry Vanilla)
Glass 5B: Primary of Buckweat/orange blossum mix (Bamboo Jasmin)
BB3: Rack to 5C
(At this point I have BB3 empty)

Don't know from here.  Juggling takes some  time to figure out.

That is all for now.
Dave
matrix4b: (Default)
Ok, So I haven't done anything new yet but here are some plans for Sunday.

Pumpkin Hazelnut:  I plan on stiring it around a bit, taking out the spices, It would be only 3 weeks but it should be enough for it.  Spices tend to intensify over time.  But I want to get it mixed up a bit and not be stuck on the bottom and forming layers.  It will also give me a chance to smell it.  I don't think that the hazelnut will come out all that strongly.  But hopefully on THIS batch of pumpkin it will taste pumpkiny.

Tale of 3 Toasts:  This sunday should be about 3 weeks on the oak.  I think that I will try to give it 4 weeks. 

Blueberry Lemon:  I think I over oaked this one.  Was on lightly toasted oak for about a month.  But I think that the infuson was faster because I put it into my oak tube for Glass Carboys.  This one should be about ready to bottle.  I should bottle this one.  Just a matter of cleaning the autosypon, brew bucket, bottles, and bottling wand.  Then bottle.  I think that this is ready.  The color looked beautiful when a ray of sunligth went through it.  Not exactly read-through but a deep purple wine color.  Yum.

The Oak Tube is an invention that I came up with.  I think it will work.  Basically I had an autosyphon that died,  Got splits in the plastic verticaly so that when I try to pump it it sprays out a bit.  So I took the tube into the shop and drilled a bunch of 1/4 inch holes into it, tied a string on the end and lopped off a little.  Then I fill the tube up with my oak chips.  and put in the glass carboy.  I did need to put a hops bag on the end so that it doesn' come out.  But as it happens the oak chips go the full lenght of the tube and most of the length of the glass carboy.  I came up with this as it is hard to oak in a glass caroby with a hops bag, The bag doesn't come out easy.  With this, The chips swelled up a little but with a little tapping and coaxing they came out without a pain.  I like the invention and may make another if my autosyphon dies again.  I know that it is already food grade plastic so I don't need to worry on that end.  Easy removal of the chips and a better infusion was the goal.  It worked.  Now I just need one for each of my carboys.  Hmm, my check into some other plastic tubes, just need to check on the food grade bit.

Chocolate Pair:  I need to rack this as I think that it is starting to clear.  So a raclomg is in order.

Tasting the Pumpkin Toasted Almond:  This still tastes a bit bitter to me.  I think that it is a bitter almond taste, perhapse like the Vanilla Almond turned out a bit.  I hope that this ages out, still a bit young, only about 4 months aged.  I think that I should let it go for a full year or more before declairing it an openable flavor.  I Oaked this with Medium Toasted Oak,  Hmm, I may bring it to a solstice party I am going to and get opions and again at the end of January for Annbelle's B-Day Party that we are hosting.  Get some taste notes then.  Still, I may just wait til October for the Mile-Hi Con.

The Lemon-Lime low ABV% turned out well, a bit thin but well.  I may go about it differently if I try this again.

The Peach Spearmint is really good:  Spearmint if very subtle, almost not there but it's enough to break up the Peach flavor so that it's more flavorful.  Success here.

That's all now.

Dave
matrix4b: (Default)
Ok, so I finally racked this to the pumpkin.  Still not sure if I need to back sweeten this.  The primary went well. Took about 3 weeks.  I broke down and bought another brew bucket so now I have 8 brewing vessels. 

Found 1 of the pumpkins that I bought went bad.  But the 4 were good.  Split the pumpkin pie pumpkins along the middle, scooped out the seeds then put face down in a little water and cooked at 350 for 1/2 hr.  Then when they were out of the oven and cooled down, I scooped the meat out of the skins.  and put it all in a mesh bag.  Oh, I heard that yams help enhance the pumpkin flavor, odd but true, so I put 2 yams in there as well, cooked and sliced into about 1/2 inch thick slices.  All in the mesh.  Put in a hops bag 1/2 a nutmeg, freshly crushed, 1 cinnamon stick and a sprinkle of pumpkin spice for a little bit of extra.  Spices go a long way.  So now we have the pumpkin hazelnut in the secondary. 

Blueberry Lemon:  I have this one oaked now with lightly toasted oak chips for about 3-4 weeks.  Maybe a month.  Interesting thing I did:  I been having trouble taking out oak chips in the glass carboys.  They get stuck in the neck.  One of my autosyphons developed cracks along the sides making it unsuitable to do it's job.  So I loped off the end and drilled holls into it.  Then stuffed it with lightly toasted oak chips, putting a hops bag on the end of it.  dropped that in and what do you know, it worked.  The tube is almost like a home made spiral of oak.  I did have a little trouble getting the chips out of the tube because the oak swelled up a bit but, a few taps with a knife and some coaxing and they came out.  So that just needs a bit more settling and then to the bottling process, prob 2 weeks from bottling.

Tale of 3 Toasts:  These 3 carboys were so ready for racking it wasn't funny.  They were not fully clear but you could see the clearing process going.  I racked this over and stuffed in hops bags about 1 oz of each oak toast level.  3 weeks and I will take it out and rack.  Then it is all up to settling.  Tasted each one, the backsweetening worked and it is sweet and should age out wonderfully.

Choclolates: Didn't touch but it should be oaked and racked.  Final stage here.  High hopes for this one but as they said, long aging process.

When I bottle the Blueberry Lemon, I should be able to do 2 primaries with the orange blossom honey so that I can get both the Mango and the Strawberry going.  When the Tale of 3 Toasts get's bottled, then I should be able to do the Bamboo Jasmin and the second blueberry and maybe another lemon something.

So that's 4-5 planed.  2 very soon.

That's all for now.

Dave
matrix4b: (Default)
Ok, So I put together the Primary of the Pumpkin Hazelnut on Sunday.

12 pounds of Buckwheat honey
4 gal of water
2 packets of Lavin 71B yeast
1 tablespoon of Yeast Energizer (DAP)
1 tablespoon of Yeast Nutrient
3 tablespoons of comercial vanilla extract (So I don't need to put vanilla beans.

That is the primary that is currently bubbling away.  Smells nice but noticablly more earthy than when I use the Wildflower or Alfalfa honey.  I put the vanilla in the primary knowing full well that most of the flavor will be taken out in the primary fermentation but it's ok, that's why I put in 3 and I am only using it to soften the flavors and round out the other flavors.  The Buckwheat Honey has a brown sugar-ish quality.  It tastes good by itself and noticablly so.  Wonder how much of the character will bleed over.

When the primary is down to it's low end I plan on racking it on to the pumpkin in my big fermentation bucket, which currently has chocolate mead in it, reminds me it's going on 3 weeks or so on the oaking with medium oak.  Need to take that out and back sweeten the chocolate as I have some of the wildflower honey left in liquid form as I diluted it out for backsweetening.  1/2 gal of volume should be about 3-4 pounds of honey's worth.

Plan for the Pumpkin in Secondary:

Ingredients:
In hops bag for spices:
2 cinnamon sticks about 1 1/2 inch long
1/4 of a whole nutmeg, freashly crushed
1 whole clove
(vanilla already in)

In big bag
5 pumpkin pie pumpkins (cooked in oven at 350 for 1/2 hr and scraped into nylon mesh bag)
      about 15 pounds I'm guessing it is

In liquid form:
1 cup of hazelnut extract homemade from 1 1/2 cups of rum and 1 cup of chopped and roasted hazelnut

Put all in, for about 1 1/2 months, rack to tetriary
Hit up with potasium sulfate, to stop the yeast.
Backsweeten with about 5 pounds of more buckwheat honey and oak with 1 oz of medium toasted oak.

Remove oak about 3-4 week point and rack again onto some sparkloid to clear,  wait for clearing and bottle.

That's the plan anyway.
3 of the 5 gal glass caroby
On another note for those that are paying attention, I have all my 7 carboys full.

5 gal glass: Pumpkin Hazlenut primary

6 gal glass: Bluebery Lemon (being oaked)

2 buckets of 6+ gal: Chocolate Mead duo

So in order to rack onto the pumpkin I will need to bottle the Blueberry Lemon and put the cocolate in the larger of the two buckets into the 6 gal glass, I may have some overlflow into a glass gallon jug.  Then once the Blueberry lemon is bottled I will have a free 5 gal glass to start the Mango mead.  It may be at the begining of the year when I do that and break out the Orange Blossom honey.

I don't expect the Rockbitters to be bottled until spring, summer, then I will have 3 openings.  Plan there is to do the strawberry, maybe a blueberry, and also get the Bamboo's Primary going so that it can be aged about 1 1/2 years to 2 years by our 10th anv of my Shinai club.  By then the chocolates may be ready to bottle so I can then use up the lime juice I have.  Hmm, I am currently making some almond extract, maybe use that for an almond, something batch.

The goal here is to keep the carboys that I have cycling and not really have an empty caroboy.  That should make it 3-4 batches a year and with a delay of about 1 1/2 years in batches it may be by late 2012 when I have about 3 new meads a year.  I like that idea.  When Spring comes around, I so need to do some major delabling of the bottles that I currently have and in another year or so, I may need more bottles.  Hmm, we shall see.


Well that's all for now.

Dave
matrix4b: (Default)
Ok, So I wanted to concentract the extract I have made.  In this case Lemon extract or more appropriately they are Tinctures not truely extracts.  I found some instructions online that seemed to indicate that a way to concentrate the flavor is to evaporate the alcohol out of it.

The instructions were for only a couple of doses of volume.  More medicinal but I felt that the concept was sound.  Totally spaced that it was for only a dose or two.

2 methods were described.

1.  Microwave for a few minutes until it is reduced.  Very scarce on the instructions.
2. Put in a double boiler and heat slowly on low heat as alcohol is evaporated at low tempatures.  This method also suggests to use a wide bottom pan as it will provide more surface area to evaporate.

I opted for method 1.  Put a cup of my lemon extract in a measuring cup and proceeded to nuke it for 2 minutes.

(Wait for it)

Ok, got some bubbling and let cool off for a minute or so, the volume was down about 1/8 of a cup as it was in between 1 cup level and 3/4 cup level.  Was thinking on going to the 3/4 cup level.  So in it goes, still warm but stopped bubbling.  So I put in for another 2 minutes.  It got to 46 sec.

(Wait for it)


Then BOOM.  The door shoots open and there is a spray of lemon extract vapor that explosively shoots out.  Ok, note to self, extract is....Combustable in the microwave if left too long.  And Yes I realize that I was Distilling.  The alcohol vapor must have come out of the solution too quickly for the volume of liquid to handle and possibly combusted into flame.  I cleaned up the now fully drenched microwave and in front of it.  I actually sprayed my wifes calves with it and burned her slightly, an application of Alovera burn jell was neccessary but I couldn't tell any redness so it was very mild of a burn.  And after much appologies to my wife, promising that I wouldn't do it in the micorwave again and proving that the microwave still worked, I  managed to get out of hot water.

Yes, NOW I am aware that what I was actually doing is called Distilling.  A big no no for home brewers.  Not sure if it's ok in small batches for extract.  The mint extract is a little weak and needs the concentration, What's left of the Lemon and some Orange Extract could all use some reduction.  Time to try my hand at the slower method.

The other technique was simply evaporative of just opening the container and leaving it open until it reduces on it's own.

So if you want to make a microwave go boom without a fire, simply put some rum or vodka in it and nuke for  4-5 minutes strait.  NO I am not recomending it, more of advocating against it.

It startled me though.

Dave

(On the mead side, nothing new, haven't started the Pumpkin yet.  Hopefully this Sunday.)
matrix4b: (Default)
Chocolates

Ok, So on Sunday I racked both chocolates.  What a mess.  Some of the nibs escaped the mesh bag.  It smelled good though.  I found my screened big funnel was very useful.  Ran it through the screen twice.
  I racked it into the brew bucket and then procceded to heat up water for the maltodextrin.  I melted that in and mixed it in.  Also heated up a cup of water for the sparkloid which is a clearing agent.  I mixed in Maltodextrin (1 pound in 1/2 gallon of water), 1 tablespoon of Sparkloid (a clearing agent) and 1 Tablespoon of Potasium Sulfate (This is to kill the yeast)  and in one I put just under a 1/4 teaspoon of mint extract and medium toasted oak.  I need to get another oz of medium toasted oak together to oak the other one.   (So that's 2 racked and put away, med toasted oak needed.)  Sad that my wife vetoed the Chocolate Hazelnet because she wanted a strait chocolate.  Unfortunately, this one is going to take 1 1/2 years to age after bottling.  Bottling should be in the Spring?  so that would mean that aging should be done properly by fall or so in 2 yrs.  Yes mead takes time, Chocolate is moreso because the oils need to break down.

Triple Toast test

I found that my over 1 gal of alfalfa honey had all crystalized so I boiled a gallon of water and began mixing it in to melt all the honey.  This was tedious.  I ended up putting the liquid back on the heat to heat it up again and repeated swishing the honey in the mix so that I could get it ALL melted.  This took hard work and a long time.  Intermixed with the other items of the day.  In the end I got it all liquid and mixed it up.  Put 1/2 gal of mixture in each of the brews as I racked it off.  I mixed in Postasium Sulfate and Sparkloid on this too.  No sense having wild yeast in the honey start fermentation again.  The point is to back sweeten.  I am not waiting for the 3 to drop and clear again.  And then I will get the oak together.  Going to need to order oak on the internet  because I can't get heavy toasted oak locally.  I also have need of a bunch more.
(So that's 3 more racked and treated)

Bottles

Needed to de-label bottles as I didn't earlier.  Hard work there.  I only got 5 cases done.  That's like 2+ batches that I can bottle with it.  Unforturnately it is turning too cold to do and because I use amonia, I can't do it inside in the winter.  I may just have to bottle in spring and bulk age a bit.

Blueberry Lemon

Didn't rack this one or do anyting with it.  It needs oaking then some time to settle more and then bottling. 

Current in carboy: Triple Toast test, Double Chocolate, Blueberry Lemon (6 total carboys)

Pumpkin Hazelnut

Haven't started yet but I have the hazelnut extract made.  I took 1 cup chopped hazelnet and toasted it for 1/2 hr on 300 degrees in oven.  Then put through coffee grinder and in 2 cups of rum.  Let sit in rum for 2+ months.  Then filtered out the hazelnut and put it through a coffee filter.  I ended up with about 1 cup of rum due to evaporation and the nuts absorbing some.  I plan on putting this in the Pumpkin with some spices all in the secondary.  I picked up some buckwheat honey for it, the buckwheat has some brown sugar notes that should complement the pumpkin.  But haven't had time with the 5 rackings, 5 backsweetenings, and 5 cases de-labeled.  Busy day.

Honey Buy

On sunday I also picked up 42 pounds of Buckwheat honey and 42 pounds of orange blossum honey.   All for about $2.00 a pound.  The price I had been getting it from Madhava's, Yea!  The honey is strait from the apriaries and has only been heated up enough to make easier to pack it and is unfiltered.  This means that it is PRIME honey for mead making with all of the florals and notes and stuff that makes varietal honey's worth it.  I am happy about this.  This is about 6 batches worth.  I have planed a Mango, Strawberry, and Peach(Something) with the Orange Blossom.  With the Buckwheat I have planed the Pumpkin and a Blueberry and maybe the Bamboo Jasmin in the summer.


That's all of the Mead News I have for now.

Dave
matrix4b: (Default)
Ok, So I heated up and melted 6 pounds of honey into 1/2 galon of water. For those that don't know that is 1 gal of total volume, about. I then mixed it with my already too big 6 gal of Blueberry Lemon. Kicked the dryness right out to just right after it ages leve. Now I did overflow a little. I ended up with about 1 glas past a full carboy. Put that in an empty jar I keep for extract making.

So other News:

Tripple Rockbitter
Racked off the primary the Triple Toast Test. It is still that carmel coloredness that tells you that much yeast is in it. Near as I can tell after 13 days of fermenting it is at about 10% ABV. Looks good. This one should be nummy when I backsweeten it.  So it should be good when it  comes time to oak it. I don't have any Heavy Toast Oak yet.

Labels:
I picked up at office Despot some 3/4 inch rounds that I can print on.  After a test this is the perfect size for on top of the cap.  Now the Mead will be Clearly labeled for all to see.  I only used a word template but I was thinking on putting it into photoshop and I can get images.  This way I don't have to put a full label on it and it can be identified in a bucket of ice just fine.  Yea, I am getting more organized.

Chocolate:
The Chocolate batches seem to be doing fine.  I was going to put into a new mesh bag the Chocolate grounds into one as I don't think that it is infusing properly.  I didn't get to it.  Will do later.  I currently have a big pillowcase sized mesh bag for it.  That should get good infusion.

Extract Projects up and coming and current:

So on the chocolate I plan on doing a Hazelnut Chocolate.  To get the hazelnut flavor into it, I have decided to make some hazelnut extract.  I took one cup of chopped hazelnuts and toasted them then hit them up for a rough grind in the coffee grinder, Then into a jar with 1 1/2 cups of rum.  The shake daily for a week and let sit for about a mont 1/2.  Then I am going to ad 1/2 of that once strained into the chocolate, the rest I am saving for the Pumpkin Hazelnet this Fall.

On another note, A friend of mine has come Chocolate Mint growing in her yard that she said I could harvest for making extract.  Plan on doing this and using some of that extract in the second batch of chocolate.  And keeping the rest.  Possibly spliting it with her.  I know my wife would like homemade mint for her chocolate mint swirl brownies.  Should be good.

Wondering how much flavor will be left wih the nibs, thinking on trying to melt it and mix with sugar and see.  Hmm.

THat's All for now.

Dave
matrix4b: (Default)
Over Labor Day, I labored. I put together 3 batches of Rockbiter brew in exactly the same way, same potions.

Checking my notes, I cut back a bit on the energizer and nutrients.

I also needed to use wildflower honey rather than my preferred Alphafa. So there will be some differences. But all the 3 batches are the same.

Instead of a full tablespoon of Yeast Energizer and a table spoon of yeast nutrient, I used 1/2 a table spoon or 1 1/2 teaspoons. I noticed that I got my measurements wrong origionally. It should be only 1 teaspoon of each noramlly. Didn't sound right. But I did use my Lavin D-47 yeast. Same as always.

When it comes time, I will backsweeten, clairify, then Oak.

The point of this batch is to taste the different oak levels. That being Lightly toasted oak, Medium toasted oak, and heavy toasted oak. Treat them exactly the same otherwise. I am also taking gravity readings at each racking. But then I can refine my rockbitter formula to it's best advantage and know what the different tastes will be like with my other batches.

I have a few people making guesses that the medium toast will be the tastiest due to it's the same toast level most used in a good aged burbon.

But we shall see. Details as it develops. I don't have the gravity measurements with me but I did write them down and the temp the measurment is taken at. This, I gather affects the true gravity.

So, what will it be, Lightly toasted, Medium or Heavy toast? I wonder what will win out as a favorite.

The next test that I do a rockbitter may be over a year off and it will be another binary test. Rockbiter with step nutrients and rockbitter without.

So how step nutrients work is during the fermentation process the gravity is taken and you put in a little nutrient at the begining and the rest is put in after the 1/3 sugar break. That is when the yeast has eaten 1/3 of the sugar and should be slowing down a bit, More nutrients at that time helps to keep from stressing out the yeast and produce fewer fusel alcohols(the type of alcohol that tastes like hard alcohol) and end result is a smoother mead quicker.

So there's that. This will make my lazy hobby something more active if it pans out to make too much of a difference.

So Rockbitter tests:

1) Rockbiter Trio: Tale of Three Toasts
2) Rockbiter Step up: To Step Nutrient or no.
3) Rockbitter Yeast Extravaganza: A Test of several Yeasts.
4) Rockbitter Honey Test: A test of a few different honey?

I will still be doing my other batches and I am limiting myself to once a year at most for the Rockbitter tests.

Here's what I have:

In Carboy:
Chocolate Pair: A Chocolate Mint and A Chocolate Hazlenut (or just Chocolate)
Blueberry Lemon
Rockbitter Trio: Tale of Three Toasts

In carboy soon:

Fall: Pumpkin Hazlenut

Possible Late Winter: Strawberry Oat or Mango

Summer: Bamboo Jasmin, Bluebery (something thinking Thyme not sure)

Possible Summer: Another Lime, maybe Lime Vanilla or a Lemon Basil

Next Fall will be another Pumpkin as I think that a Pumpkin type brew will be a staple in the fall.

That's the Plan. Oh, I have enough Peaches for another Lightly peach batch too. Hmm maybe a Peach Ginsing.

That's all for now
matrix4b: (Default)
Ok, So I am currently upset at my honey supplier: Madhava's. I just checked in and it seems that they increased their prices to the point that they are so close to non-wholesale that they may as well not be a wholesaler. I also got told that my lovely Alphafa honey is not available in time for my brewing on Monday, memorial day. They also no longer carry the 42 pound buckets. They have 24 pound (2 galons) and by a special 2 week advance order a 60 pound size. The price went from nearly $2.00 a pound to now at about $2.30 a pound, again this is WHOLESALE.

I checked with another supplier in Lakewood and he wants a whoping $4/lb for a 60 pound size. That is actually more than at Vitamin Cottage.

One supplyer in Greely (Rice's Honey) may still have the 60 pound clover for $125, which is $2.09 a pound. Stlll, my costs are going up.

Sigh, I need to see what Apiary's there are about: Bee Keepers. Or find a supply from a farm or something.

If anyone has a good supply for inexpensive, I'd like to hear of it.

Matrix (Sad times now for brewing)
matrix4b: (Default)
I just got the Raspberry Thyme Lable Done. Afraid I needed to sensor it a little. Otherwise it would be NSF.

matrix4b: (Default)
Ok, So I finally racked over the two primaries that I had sitting on the lees for too long. I racked it over to my two brew buckets. Reason, Adding Coco beans, or rather what is properly coco powder. I got the cacao beans roasted from chocolatealchemy.com for a good price, and roasted. I ordered 5 pounds and 4 of them roasted. I thought I was buying Nibs, which is the roasted bean broken up into bits with the shell off. But What I got was the whold beans with the shell on. I did remove the shells on some and then gave up at being too work intesnsive. I just put the whole thing into the coffee grinder and did a rough grind, Just a few twirls not breaking up the whole thing down to fine powder. Finally a use for my coffee grinder. Yea. So I have 4 pounds in a plastic zip lock. The shell make it a lighter color. I figure that it couldn't hurt as I am extracting the chocolate flavor. I took a big mixing bowl and scooped up a cup at a time to split the 4 pounds evenly as I didn't have a scale. So I ended up with 8 cups a peice. 6 cups with the shell in the mix and 2 cups that I de-shelled. I belive the term is cracking and winnowing. So 8 cups. Probly be about 6 1/2 cups each if I was to crack and winnow all of the beans prior to putting in. I put them into a couple of nylon bags that I have and dropped it into the must. I plan on stiring a bit and making sure that it ALL is submerged so that it gets some aggitation going for the extraction process. I also put into musulm bags 2 vanilla beans split and dropped those in. If you look at any candy bar or chocolate bar it does include a litte vanilla for deepinging the flavor. So I did the same.

I plan on letting the extraction process do it's thing for 2 months. Hopefully that will be plenty of time for the extraction to take place.

Steps after that:
1. Rack off of the chocoalte nibs
2. wait until clears a bit more and stabalize
3. Then Back sweeten 1 pound in each batch of Maltodextrin and some honey. This should give it a creamyness and a good mouth feel. Put Mint in 1 batch 1/8th teaspoon of extract. Should be nice and subtle.
4. Wait a few weeks and then rack onto some sparkloid to clear.
5. Oak with 1 oz medium toasted oak for 3 weeks or so.
6. Possibly Sparkloid again if not fully cleared and wait for at least a month.
7. Bottle.
8. Age for minimum a year, possibly 1 1/2 years.

So that is the plan.

On a side note, I need to get some money together to get another 42 pound bucket of honey to make the Trinary Rockbiter test. Last major test was the Rockbitter Binary Batch: To oak or not To Oak. This produced positive resulst such that I will be oaking my standard honey mead. The new test for the Rockbitter Trinary: Tale of Three Toasts is to test oak toast levels. That is to use Lightly Toasted, Medium Toast, and Heavy Toast Oak Chips or cubes and see what the flavor differences is.

The next Rockbitter test will be using step nutrients vs putting all of the nutrients in at the beginging. That will be the Rockbitter Step Up test.

This will tell me what the results of doing a step nutrient process will be and how it affects quality. But that test will be in 2014, I think.

Now is the Rockbitter Trianary: Tale of Three Toasts.

I hope to start that in 2 weeks, I just need Honey. Planing on starting that on Labor Day as that is the day that I first started brewing and it's in 2 weeks. It's going to take all day As I need to do the 3 batches all seperately and exactly the same. Due to the need to keep the results the test accurate, no additional variables.

Future Projects: Pumpkin Nut in October/November. Hopefully I can do at about the same time: Strawberry Oatmeal (Sort of my first Braggot), and the Mango Mead in January. Most of this depends on how long it takes the batches to get bottled.

I have 7 carboys to juggle:
2 have the Chocolate batches (these are my 2 brew buckets.
1 has the Blueberry Lemon: Mental Note, need to rack and back sweeten soon and then sparkloid.
3 will have the Rockbitter Trinary
1 will have the Pumpkin Nut in the fall.

Now hopefully I can Get the Blueberry Lemon clear and done by January and bottled at that time too. So that can be happily aging for a late summer/fall opening date. This will free up 1 carboy for either the Strawberry Oatmeal or the Mango.

In the freezer, I have fruit for: Strawberry, Mango, and Peach. I also have enough lemon and lime juice frozen to flavor a batch, I think 2-3 cups of each.

I have enough yeast for 5 batches and I just bought new sparkloid, Yeast Nutrient (in Bulk 1 pound) and Yeast Energizer (in bulk, 1 pound). So at this point all I need is honey. 2 buckest shoud do the trick.

Ah, for an unlimited brewing budget.

That's all for now.

Dave
matrix4b: (Default)
Ok, So didn't de-label. Possibly next weekend. I found out that I had almost exactly what I needed to bottle the Lemon/Lime. The bulking up of it and thining down the ABV% has worked to no detriment of the flavor. I bottled it and got an impressive 2 1/2 cases, that's 10 six packs of 12 oz bottles. So NOW I am totally out of de-labeled bottles.

The flavor of the lemon lime was light, sweet and more lemon than lime but overall a pleasant citus flavor, with a good aroma, not strong but noticable close. I think that the ABV% is about 10% but unfortunately I couldn't calculate as my hydrometer was destoyed a few months ago. Need to get another one.

I also racked the Blueberry Lemon. It did just was I expected, fermented dry and sour. It will be back sweetened. I did sweeten it a little and sorbate/sulfate it to stop the yeast. I will be back sweetening it again. It totally filled the 6 gal glass carboy. I expect I will need to oak it as well as back sweeten it and hit it up with some Sparkloid. It is a very pretty opaque purple. I think that there are still a bunch of blueberry solids in it. Those will rack out. I don't expect to be able to bottle this one until January. Hmm maybe sooner.

So Currently: Blueberry Lemon, 2 primaries for chocolate mead are what I have in the carboy. For those keeping track that means that I have 4 free caroboys. 2 are 5 gal glass and 2 are brew buckets which will house the primaries when they are ready for cacao nibs, vanilla, and oaking. So that gives me 2 free until the primaries are done in about a month. On scedual is Strawberry, Mango, Pumpkin (something), and 3 rockbitters. The pumpkin and the 3 rock bitters should be in the fall. That's the 4 but when the blueberry is ready for the bottle, I can start the strawberry or mango. I need to wait for the pumpkin to be ready and in the stores, that should be in October, late. so the primary for that one should start Mid-September. The other 3 batches are rock bitters and need to be started all at once for the proper trinary toast test. I won't have the glass 5 gal free until I rack onto the chocolate. So I am in a holding pattern for about a month. Then I shall need yeast, nutrient, energizer, cacao nibs, honey. Primarily the Cacao Nibs and Honey are the hard part. I got about a month to get this going.

That is the update for now. Only thing I have planed over the next month is delabling, which I need amonia for as I do amonia/soap combo in a big tub and let sit for a while then take a scrubbie and shuck the lables. Long process and hands get pickled but need to be done. I need the clean bottles.

Dave
matrix4b: (Default)
Ok, So I have two new primaries in the works. My basic formula. I used Lavin 71B instead of the normal D47. The reason is that it is summer and hotter than winter in my brewing area. 71B does better at higher temps, going up to around 82 degrees max. D47 is best at 70 degreees or below.

This batch is destined for the chocolate batches, Cocolate and Chocolate Mint, going with very creamy mix by adding a pound of malto-dexterin.

I have to bottle the Lemon/Lime but before I do, I need to delabel some bottles. The ones I have have only labels.

I will also need to rack the Blueberry Lemon into my glass 6 gal carboy from the brew bucket it's in. This way I can watch as it clears, maybe rack onto some sulfate and sparkloid so it will clear quickly.

That is all.
matrix4b: (Default)
I found a great deal on Mangos at our sunflower market. A local whole foods chain that has good produce and some bulk foods but not much else worth it. I found Mangos 3 for $1.00. Yes, I can do a Mango mead for inexpensive. My cost on 16 pounds was $8.00. They were a bit green but I am going to let them ripen a bit before freezing. No to figure out how to peal them. I am thinking blanching but not sure that would work. And to do so prior to freezing or after. I think 16-18 pounds is what I need for a 5 gal batch. I have read some mead makers describe Mangos as the Devil fruit as they don't give up their juice very well. Best way I have heard has been a fruit press. I am thinking that I will blenderize and put in my large mesh bag, strain that out after it's been in it a while.

But to have a Mango mead for realitively low expense. Usually they are $1 for one making the cost about $40 or so for what I need. I also think that she mis-counted at the register as I got charged about $6.80 for them. So, yeah, I may just go back and get a second batches worth and freeze that too.

I still need to find a good supply for Raspberries, the source I have is only Costco and that is going to be like $50 for enough to make another batch.

Strawberries were $5.50 for 4 pounds so that is good. I may get some for a batch.

That is all for now.

Dave
matrix4b: (Default)
Ok so I bottled an epic 3 batches today. I say epic because each batch was 2 cases each and I needed to wash all of my de-labled bottles. I couldn't bottle the 4th batch that is ready to bottle as I only had 1 case and 1 six pack of de-labled bottles left and it will take 2 cases and 2 six packs, about, as it is a 6 gal batch. So the Lemon Lime didn't get bottled.

Here's the Score in order of bottling (a very tiring day):

Pumpkin Toasted Almond: Some sour notes but that is due to the fact that it is a bit less sweet than the other factors. It had a sort of darker flaver imparted by the Medium Toasted Oak, I think. This one should turn out fine but I think that it requires at least 8 months of aging to be palatable, prob a full year. Not much nose but color is a nice amber to dark amber.

Peach Spearmint: The sublty of the Peach really came to the fore and that brought the spearmint as a background note. Sweetness is very high on this one. Oh, god I can tell that after aging this is going to be a really good mead. Good Nose and color is lighter than the pumpkin and looks good, very clear. I think that this one is going to be a killer mead. Aging, should be around 6 months but I think that 8 months to a year would do wonders. In the OMG what is this and how do I get more, type of wonder.

Raspberry Thyme: This ended up a verry deep red color that goes to opaque red with in about 1-2 inches deep. This one is very sweet and a little tart from the raspberry. I can barely discern the Thyme notes but it is there and serves well to cut the sweetness and the Raspberry tartness and overall candyness of it. I think that it was a great pairing of flavors. The scent is just amazing. A sensitive nose can smell the raspberry and the Thyme. I don't have a sensitive nose but I can barley descern it. I am sure that this will age very well. Due to the Tannins inherent in Raspberries and the mix, I recomend at least 8 months aging. It does have some Fusel alcohols. For some reason yeast loves raspberries. This fermented dry quickly and I needed to backsweeten it. I stablaized and backsweetened it, then thymed it and oaked it with lightly toasted oak chips for 3 weeks. That should smooth it out some. I think that If I do Raspberry in the future that I will try a Raspberry Basil. Thyme was a great complement though. I can't wait for this to age so that I get a taste of it. I ended up with an extra bottle beyond the 2 cases. That bottle I am hoping to save and taste when it's aged. But I digress. I feel that Ziz is going to be very happy with this once it ages, although a depserate person could drink this now. Just a little alcoholic bite. I also don't have the lable design done yet. I have been slowed down on that score due to the busyness of the current and next few weeks and that my computer is dying. I need to get the images, I have not yet found an adaquate farie image to put on it. I got some great red Raspberry picts and a few Awesome Thyme picts. I had no Idea that Thyme's flowers were purple. They look quite beautiful. So Lable design is on that.

UP next is bottle delableing, Clean 4 carboys, start 2 primaries for the Chocolate and Chocolate Mint. Bottle Lemon/Lime Mead. Rack Blueberry Lemon Mead and Oak in a few months.

Fall: Start Trinary Rockbitter, Pumpkin Nut, Raspberry Basil (?)

Other News: I got more bottles. 11 cases for inexpensive, just need to delable them. So bottle supply is about 18 cases. This will make about 8-9 batches. Considering I have 2 in the carboy and 5 planed, this makes it 14 cases needed, so that will leave about 4 cases or 2 batches. Hmmm. I have had 2 people want more blueberry. One for Robz, said he can't drink for 3 more years but he wants one ready for it. I am honered that he wants my mead for his long break from alcohol ending. The other person that wants blueberry is Anabelle. She told me that she was thinking on saving up for a batch. I also won't hear the end of it if I don't have another Strawberry on the docket. Even though it was rocket fuel, due to a primary infusing of the strawberries, people loved it. So, I think that I will have no troubles filling that slot. I loved the Lime so much that I want to do another one. That would be a Spring/Summer batch at least for timeing.

Definite on docket:
Chocolate Mead
Chocolate Mint Mead
Trinary batch
Pumpkin Nut
Raspberry Basil(?)

That's 7 batches. I have 7 carboys but currently 2 are filled. I don't think that the Blueberry Lemon is going to be ready by fall so that will make it 6 batches. I think that the Raspberry Basil will need to wait, with supplies in the freezer for the clearing of that carboy.

The Plan:
2 Chocolates: Primary in a couple of weeks, Secondary by mid august on the cacao nibs and vanilla. Racking off of that in the fall?

Honey Buy in late summer (Aug/Sept)

Trinary Rockbitter batch (Labor Day?) Primary with rack to secondary middle october.

Pumpkin Nut: Primary in early October. Secondary in mid November when the pumpkins for pie making come out.

Buy Red Raspberries in Aug/Sept and put in Freezer.

Maybe start the Red Raspberry late November/Early December depending on when I can bottle the Blueberry Lemon.

That is all for now. sorry for long post.
matrix4b: (Default)
Ok, I managed to render down the frozen Blueberries down to juice. I got about 1 1/4 gallons out of the 10 pounds of Blueberries. The thing about doing so is that it is time consuming. I thaw the frozen blueberries, then blenderize and add in 1/4 teaspoon of Pectic enzyme for each full blender. Set aside for an hour to give the enzyme time to work. Then I sent it through a siv stiring to get all the liquid out. Set aside the pulp and mix with a little more enzyme and let sit an hour. Then back in the siv and stir with a rubber spatula, pussing it up against the screen. In many ways once the pulp got down a bit It was like a sponge and the pulp started coming away cleanly from the screen in a clump. Press a bit more in small quantities, got about 1 1/2 more cups of juice out this way. Then I froze the resulting pulp. Not sure what to use it in but it is just as flavorful as the juice. I got about 4 cups worth of pulp out of it. Or for more perspective about 1/4 of one 5 pound bag's volume of the mix. Hmm, the pulp should make great mix in in muffins. Or a sweet bread. But I got it. Then poored the dark purple juice in my largest brew bucket with 3 cups of pure lemon juice that I had left over from the Lemon Lime Mead. Then I racked the mead on top of it. It mixed in well and remains a dark dark purple. Tasted great, could need some back sweetening when I get to oaking it. It's almost begging for a vanilla bean or two. But I will not. The lemon should lighten up the thick flavor of the blueberry a little. So I packed that away.

Lemon Lime: I racked this one and mixed in some sparkloid and potasium sorbate to stop fermentation. I also added 1 gallon of water. Tasted it, still sweet and more lemon than lime flavor. I used 2 cups of each in it as well as 1 tablespoon of zest of each in the primary. But the addition of water should give me 6 gallons yeild and thin out the alcohol content to around 9-10% and make this a very drinkable mead.

Ready for Bottling when I get time to clean bottles and do it:

Pumpkin Toasted Almond Spice
Peach Spearmint
Raspberry Thyme

Ready in about 3 weeks to bottle

Lemon Lime

So I have 1 glass carboy to clean and sanitize, then ready to make the double batch of chocolate: Chocolate and Chocolate Mint.

Need to buy the Cacao Nibs, I think for the 2 batches plus shipping will cost around $60. Making it $30 a batch. About 1.5-2 pounds per batch. I plan on using 1/4 to 1/8 teaspoon of mint extract. I used a 1/4 in the Pineapple Lime Mint and got a bit too strong of flavor so a little less is good. Going to put 2 vanilla beans in it and 1 pound of Malto-Dextrin for body and creamyness in it. Planing on medium or heavy toast oaking on this. I also need to buy one additional pound of Malto-Dexterin.

In Fall I plan on doing a trinary Rockbitter/Oaked with 3 different toast levels to see what is best and another Pumpkin Something Batch.

So my next 6 batches are planed. I will have 2 containers for batches ready. Also Once bottling happens I will have 4 more containers. Need yeast and honey again for the fall batches. I may do a september Strawberry again, not sure.

That's the update.

Need to find time to make lables for the 3 I am about to bottle.
matrix4b: (Default)
I racked the Lemon/Lime, Backsweetened and oaked it. It has 2 weeks on the oak then racking onto some sparkloid. I tasted it prior and after the backsweetening and WOW it tastes good. Not much lime but the lemon comes through astonishingly well. After back sweetening it I was very pleased witht the taste. In tasting this I know it could use a spice or some bittering agent, something to balance it. I think when I get around to my Lemon Sage Mead it should work out.

For those that don't know, Back Sweetening is the process of stopping the yeast and fermentation (called Stabalizing) and then adding more sweetness via more honey or other sugars. I had some honey in the second of the 2 buckets, I'd say about 6 pounds, most of it crystalized. To solve that I heated up a galon of water to boiling. Then pored it in and stired till it was all disoved. Then I put in about 12 cups of that solution, 1 gal to 6 pounds of honey is a bit strong for regular mix that I start with, that is about 4-5 pounds per gal. But it's great for backsweetening, adding sweetness will thin out the alcohol content and bring it to a sweetness level I like. This is the low alcohol one that is supposed to be more drinkable. I think that the oaking will bring in a flavor that will balance the sweetness and the lemon/lime flavor. I think that i may end up with a 6 gal batch here too.

And for my next trick: Bottling 3 batches: Raspberry Thyme, Peach Spearmint, Pumpkin Toasted Almond Spice. All are about ready for it.

Also, I plan on starting 2 more batches, using up the majority of the honey I have to make 2 chocolate mead batches, A Chocolate and a Chocolate Mint. I will be using 2 pounds of Cacao Nibs in the secondary, of which I need to buy yet. And one pound of MaltoDextrin to add body to it.

The next batch beyond that is going to be a strait pumpkin nut mead and this fall into winter I plan on finally doing the heroic effort of 3 meads in one day and doing the Trinary Rockbitter Test. Same batch but oaked with all 3 toast levels: Light, Medium, Heavy. That is after I get more honey.

That's it for now.
Dave
matrix4b: (Default)
Ok, I was encouraged to do more mead on Friday. Basically from my friends telling me at a party that they want me to make more mead and the mead that is aged 8 or more months is very yummy. (Watermelon excepted) So I got to work. My Friends want me to ramp up my production to the full legal limit. I don't think that I can do it, much less afford it. 250 gallons a year in Colorado is the legal limit for home brewing. That would be 50 carboys a year. Given that I would need more space that is like brewing one batch every Sunday and have two sunday's off from it. I Don't think I could handle it let alone the work for it. As I would be racking and bottling about once ever two weeks. The cost of honey would be for 900 pounds of honey, close to
$2200 in Honey and $100 in yeast, $600 in Yeast Nutrient and energizer. Not sure how much in water/glass/cleaning supplies. So to far that is about $3000. My guess is that It would cost me close to $5000 for everything except fruit. Not something that I could afford. Anyway on to the update:

Raspberry Thyme: I racked this back to the glass carboy, put in some Sparkloid to help clear it up some. It is currently a Deep Red color that is just plain beautiful. I was worried that the Thyme flavor was a bit metallic tasting when I tried it last and that ended up not being the case. It is tasty now but it does need to age. I need to wait for the sparloid to fully take effect and then bottle. I plan on giving it a month or so before I bottle it.

Peach Spearmint: I didn’t touch this one but it bears mentioning. The mead is a wonderful clear yellow amber color and you can read and see nice details strait through it. I suppose that it is ready to bottle but I will wait a bit yet. Need to have a bottling day set up to do so.

Pumpkin Toasted Almond Spice: This one I racked. The sparkloid did it’s thing and it is nice and clear, not as clear as the Peach Spearmint but it is made with pumpkins. I detected a pumpkin and almond flavor but this one definitely has an astringent taste of new mead. This tells me that it will end up less sweet that the others and probably end up a medium sweet mead. It also tells me that once aged it will probably be a really good one. Not too sweet for the people that don’t like it as sweet as I do.

Lemon/Lime: This one I racked due to the sediment. I also hit it up with some sparkloid and Potassium Sorbate. The Mead was not clear yet. I hit it with the Potassium Sorbate to stop fermentation. I tasted the mead and it was a definite lemon/lime flavor. Bit of a zing to it. I will need to back sweeten this one. That is the next step in about a month or so. Then on to oaking it. Probably do that at the same time. Oak and bask sweeten. This one still has good promise. I think that I will try to lengthen this out to a 6 gallon batch. I anticipate this one being popular. Be summer by the time it is done aging.

Blueberry Lemon: I got the primary started on this. I put just a little of the lemon extract I am making from the zest I had in the fridge for a few months. I feel that this one should turn out well. I only used 12 pounds of honey or 1 gallon. I plan on back sweetening this one but the blueberries will give it some more sweetness in the secondary fermentation.

My wife wants me to do a double chocolate batch and a triple honey mead batch (oaked). I don’t have enough honey. I have enough for maybe 2 more batches but no yeast. I need to go shopping:
Shopping List:
New Hydrometer and measuring tube
Yeast
Yeast Nutrient
Yeast Energizer
Honey
Sparkloid
More Carboy cleaning solution
Cacao Nibs, Coco Powder
Oak Chips: Light toasted, Medium Toasted, Heavy Toasted for Trinary test on Rockbitter.

Research:
Research how much Coco/Cacao Nibs to put in a 5-6 gal batch
Research bigger batches, also cost of a used Oak Barrel.
Research Step nutrient addition.
Reasearch Cold Pressed Coffee beans, best bean for flavor

New batches on future Slate:
Trinary Rockbitter Test (tale of Three Oaks)
Double Chocolate Batch: Chocolate Mint? Or just test of Cacao Nibs or Coco Powder.
Fig/Date?
Strawberry
Another Raspberry

While dolling out honey, I found that the opened bucket was crystallizing. I hope that my 42 pound bucket isn’t crystallizing. That’s about 2 and maybe 3 batches.

Labor Day in 2007 is when I started Brewing. So this year I will have 4 years under my belt and hopefully 16-20 batches.

That is all for now.
matrix4b: (Default)
Well, I took out the oak and the Thyme. The Thyme was only in for about 1 1/2 weeks. I tasted it from the drain off of the oak. always a little.

The thyme has yet to integrate into the flavor, that's why we have aging. But it tasted good and smelled awesome. I MUST do anther raspberry because wow the scent and flavor is just awesome. A bit sweet but once the thyme get's integrated into the flavor it should be good. And after aging, mucho awesome.

The last step before bottling is that I am going to rack it one more time and put in some sparkloid to clear it up a bit more. Then wait for that to take effect and bottle, then age 6 months to a year. I should be bottling it in June or late May. Then I need to turn it over to it's owner.

I also need to get images and make the lable.

Should be fun.
matrix4b: (Default)
Ok, So I took the fresh Thyme and removed some of the leaves off of the stalks. The smell was incredable. I only did about 1/2 a teabag's worth and brusied up the leaves with a knife handle then scraped the whole thing into a muslin bag made for hops. My hands smelled of Thyme and the scent was powerfully in my nose. Then I opened up the Raspbery Mead and the scent of it combined and BOY! did it smell good. I think that I made an awesome pairing in the two. We shall see. At the very least it will have a Nose that will knock you over and make you salivate, even if you have a head cold.
I don't have one but wow.

I plan on keeping the thyme in for only 2 weeks, like the oak chips.

That is all.
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